Sunday, October 24News That Matters

Tag: United States Politics and Government

NASA Planning Moon Launch in 2022

NASA Planning Moon Launch in 2022

Technology
NASA set dates on Friday for its giant rocket to launch a spacecraft to the moon and back, beginning in mid-February next year. No, for real this time.In a news conference, officials from the space agency announced a two-week period beginning Feb. 12 for a flight — without astronauts aboard — of the Space Launch System, the biggest rocket flown by the agency in decades. It will loft Orion, a capsule for transporting astronauts to deep space, on an uncrewed trip that orbits the moon then returns to Earth.“We are on track to fly, and this team will be ready when our flight hardware is ready,” said Mike Sarafin, the NASA official who is the mission’s manager.Whether NASA will proceed with this February timeline depends on the results of testing on the ground leading up to the launch window, i...

N.I.H. Says Bat Research Group Failed to Submit Prompt Virus Findings

Technology
The National Institutes of Health said on Wednesday that a nonprofit group under fire from some congressional Republicans for its research collaborations in China had failed to promptly report findings from studies on how well bat coronaviruses grow in mice.In a letter to Representative James Comer, Republican of Kentucky, the N.I.H. said that the group, EcoHealth Alliance, had five days to submit all unpublished data from work conducted under a multiyear grant it was given in 2014 for the research. The organization’s grant was canceled in 2020 under President Donald J. Trump’s administration during his feud with China over the origins of the coronavirus.In recent months, N.I.H. officials have rejected claims — sometimes in heated exchanges with congressional Republicans — that coronavirus...
Hackers Lay Claim to Trump’s Social App Before Its Launch

Hackers Lay Claim to Trump’s Social App Before Its Launch

Technology
Former President Donald J. Trump declared on Wednesday evening that he would start a “media powerhouse.” Its flagship operation would be Truth Social, a Twitter-like social network that would “stand up to the tyranny of Big Tech,” he said in a statement.Within two hours, hackers had gained access to a private version of the social network, creating fake accounts for Mr. Trump; the far-right personality Stephen K. Bannon; Ron Watkins, the QAnon conspiracy theorist; and Twitter’s chief executive, Jack Dorsey, who barred Mr. Trump from Twitter after his supporters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.Using a false “donaldjtrump” account, hackers posted images of defecating pigs, wrote expletive-laced rants aimed at Mr. Dorsey and inquired about the whereabouts of the former first lady Melania Trump....
U.S. Warns Climate Poses ‘Emerging Threat’ to Financial System

U.S. Warns Climate Poses ‘Emerging Threat’ to Financial System

Business
WASHINGTON — Climate change is an “emerging threat” to the stability of the U.S. financial system, top federal regulators warned in a report on Thursday, setting the stage for the Biden administration to take more aggressive regulatory action to prevent climate change from upending global markets and the economy.The report, produced by the Financial Stability Oversight Council, is the clearest expression of alarm to date about the risks that rising temperatures and seas pose to the economy and could herald sweeping changes to the kinds of investments made by banks and other financial institutions.It was released as President Biden and senior administration officials prepare to attend the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, where the United States will try to demonstrate to the world...
Stocks Hit a Record as Investors See Progress Toward a Spending Deal

Stocks Hit a Record as Investors See Progress Toward a Spending Deal

Business
Wall Street likes what it’s hearing from Washington lately.The S&P 500 inched to a new high on Thursday, continuing a rally aided by signs of progress in spending talks that could pave the way for an injection of some $3 trillion into the U.S. economy.The index rose 0.3 percent to 4,549.78, its seventh straight day of gains and a fresh peak after more than a month of volatile trading driven by nervousness over the still-wobbly economic recovery and policy fights in Washington.But even baby steps by lawmakers have helped end a market swoon that began in September.Share prices began to rise this month when congressional leaders struck a deal to allow the government to avoid breaching the debt ceiling, ending a standoff that threatened to make it impossible for the country to pay its bill...
Mark Zuckerberg to Be Added to Facebook Privacy Suit

Mark Zuckerberg to Be Added to Facebook Privacy Suit

Technology
WASHINGTON — The attorney general for the District of Columbia plans to add Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, to a consumer protection lawsuit, in one of the first efforts by a regulator to expose him personally to potential financial and other penalties.The attorney general, Karl Racine, said on Tuesday that continuing interviews and reviews of internal documents for the case had revealed that Mr. Zuckerberg played a much more active role in key decisions than prosecutors had known.The complaint against Facebook was filed in December 2018 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The suit alleges that Facebook misled consumers about privacy on the platform by allowing Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm, to obtain sensitive data from more than 87 million u...

Lawmakers question whether Amazon executives, including Jeff Bezos, misled Congress.

Technology
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers pressed Amazon’s chief executive on Monday to respond to allegations that its executives provided a congressional inquiry with false answers to questions about its house-brand products.Amazon executives, including its founder, Jeff Bezos, told lawmakers that the company did not look at data from single sellers on its site when it planned for and developed its own products. They also told the House Judiciary Committee that the company did not purposefully give its house-brand products an edge in search results.Last week, Reuters reported that Amazon had strategically copied products from third-party merchants while growing its business in India. Another publication, The Markup, reported a day later that the company’s house-brand products ranked h...
Decoding Kyrsten Sinema’s Style

Decoding Kyrsten Sinema’s Style

LifeStyle
Senator Kyrsten Sinema may have been in Europe recently on a fund-raising trip and out of reach of the activists who have dogged her footsteps, frustrated with her obstruction of President Biden’s social spending bill. But despite the fact her office has been keeping her itinerary under wraps, were those protesters able to follow her overseas, there’s a good chance they would be able to find her.Not just because of her political theater. Ever since she was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2005, Ms. Sinema has always stood out in a crowd. And as Ms. Sinema’s legislative demands take center stage (along with those of Senator Joe Manchin, the other Biden Bill holdout) her history of idiosyncratic outfits has taken on a new cast.As Tammy Haddad, former MSNBC political d...
Biden’s Plans Raise Questions About What U.S. Can Afford Not to Do

Biden’s Plans Raise Questions About What U.S. Can Afford Not to Do

Business
WASHINGTON — As lawmakers debate how much to spend on President Biden’s sprawling domestic agenda, they are really arguing about a seemingly simple issue: affordability.Can a country already running huge deficits afford the scope of spending that the president envisions? Or, conversely, can it afford to wait to address large social, environmental and economic problems that will accrue costs for years to come?It is a stealth battle over the fiscal future at a time when few lawmakers in either party have prioritized addressing debt and deficits. Each side believes its approach would put the nation’s finances on a more sustainable path by generating the strongest, most durable economic growth possible.The debate has shaped a discussion among lawmakers about what to prioritize as they scale ba...
Vaccinated Travelers From Abroad Can Enter U.S. on Nov. 8.

Vaccinated Travelers From Abroad Can Enter U.S. on Nov. 8.

Travel
International travelers fully vaccinated against the coronavirus who have been barred from entering the United States during the pandemic will be able to enter the country on Nov. 8, according to a White House official, marking an end to restrictions that had walled off tourists and relatives seeking to visit their families.The specific date for when the Biden administration would lift travel restrictions for those traveling by air or hoping to cross the land border was previously unclear. The administration last month said it would be implementing a new system in which fully vaccinated foreigners who show proof of a negative coronavirus test would be able to fly to the United States in early November.Earlier this week, administration officials said people hoping to enter from Mexico or Ca...